SDG 11
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More than half of the world’s population now live in urban areas. By 2050, that figure will have risen to 6.5 billion people – two-thirds of all humanity. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces.

The rapid growth of cities in the developing world, coupled with increasing rural to urban migration, has led to a boom in mega-cities. In 1990, there were ten mega-cities with 10 million inhabitants or more. In 2014, there are 28 mega-cities, home to a total 453 million people.

Extreme poverty is often concentrated in urban spaces, and national and city governments struggle to accommodate the rising population in these areas. Making cities safe and sustainable means ensuring access to safe and affordable housing, and upgrading slum settlements. It also involves investment in public transport, creating green public spaces, and improving urban planning and management in a way that is both participatory and inclusive. 

Goals in action

UNDP in Bhutan

The climate shifts. Bhutan responds.

Despite the susceptibility of Bhutan’s public health to climate change, the country has worked hard to strengthen its capacity to adapt to climate change. An important innovation of the Bhutanese initiative is linking climate data with epidemiological surveillance. MORE >

UNDP in Iran

See How Six Communities Around the World Are Adapting to Climate Change

Under the umbrella of the United Nations Development Programme, the Equator Initiative supports the work of local and indigenous communities in creating sustainable development solutions worldwide. They have found innovative ways to combat the effects of climate change, and the Equator Prize—awarded to 20 communities this year—recognizes these efforts. This short from Perspective Film Production highlights the work of six of the recipients. MORE >

UNDP in India

Building Houses, Building Dreams

In a village in Maharashtra, India, families are using government assistance to construct homes that are affordable, resilient and responsive to their needs MORE >

UNDP in Indonesia


Poisonous chemicals aren’t common tools of the trade in most workplaces. But in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, where independent gold mining is prevalent, workers are exposed to mercury every day. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Indonesia is supporting the elimination of mercury in unregulated mining operations. MORE >

UNDP in Indonesia

ECOTOURISM: Saving Indonesia’s Forests Through Creating Jobs

The UNDP has been working with the Government of Indonesia under the UN’s Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) scheme, funded by the Norwegian government, to tackle deforestation by improving livelihoods around the forests. MORE >

UNDP in Indonesia

PALM SUGAR: Saving Indonesia’s Forests Through Creating Jobs

Indonesia has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation. Efforts to slow down the loss of tree cover have included a moratorium on the clearing of certain primary forests and peatlands, but limited law enforcement capacity has hampered progress. MORE >

UNDP in Cambodia

How Aid Now Works and Why It Still Matters

By Haoliang Xu, Director at UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific Published in the Huffington Post MORE >

UNDP in Indonesia

Reza Rahadian and Eva Celia Bringing Water for Life in East Sumba

Reza Rahadian and Eva Celia as UNDP SDGs Movers visited Napu village in East Sumba to present the result of Bring Water for Life, UNDP Indonesia’s first crowdfunding campaign. The fund collected from the campaign is used to build a solar water pump in Napu by KOPPESDA, an NGO partner based in East Sumba, with supervision from UNDP Indonesia. MORE >

UNDP in Indonesia

Lights for Elar: Partnership for Sustainable Development

East Nusa Tenggara is one of the poorest provinces in Indonesia. Less than 60% of the population have access to electricity. A partnership between UNDP Indonesia and Bank NTT managed to support the initiative by civil society organizations to build micro-hydro power plants—a sustainable solution to the local needs. MORE >

UNDP in Samoa

After a cyclone, a stronger home and future

Sitiseni Afua Fuga was pregnant when Cyclone Evan hit Samoa and destroyed her home. The huge storm, which hit the island nation in 2012, left a trail of devastation throughout her village of Siumu, and beyond. MORE >

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